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Kerry Kennedy crash: Trucker scoffs at seizure claim

Rocco Scuiletti says that he is being reprimanded by authorities

The LaGrange truck driver sideswiped by Kerry Kennedy on a Westchester highway last week dismissed her contention that a seizure caused her to drive erratically and crash into him.

"She looked to me like someone who was heavily intoxicated or on drugs," Rocco Scuiletti, 47, told Newsday Thursday outside his home.

Scuiletti, who was ticketed Wednesday by State Police for leaving the scene of an accident without reporting it, said Kennedy appeared to him to be like many inebriated divers he has encountered during his 22 years on the road as a long-haul trucker.

"She nodded off a couple of times before she hit me," he recalled. Her head bobbed up and down and she weaved from the center lane into the right lane where Scuiletti was driving.

"She woke up after she hit me. She knew enough to hit the gas, pass me and get off at the next exit," he said. "That's not the behavior of someone who has had a seizure."

Kennedy, 52, pleaded not guilty to driving while ability impaired by drugs after a North Castle police officer found her slumped over the wheel of her Lexus SUV on the side of Route 22 off Interstate 684 shortly after 8 a.m. last Friday.

A spokesman for Kennedy said drug tests countered Scuiletti's assessment.

"There was a professional assessment of drugs and alcohol in her system and it came back totally negative," spokesman Ken Sunshine said, declining further comment.

Scuiletti said he kept driving because he knew he could not catch up to the SUV driver, who turned out to be the ex-wife of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"My truck had no damage," Scuiletti explained, declining to name the company he works for. "But I should have reported it. That's my fault."

Scuiletti said he didn't realize that it was Kennedy who hit him until reading about the incident the next day. He has been suspended from work for five days and is worried about losing his job, he said.

"What I fear is she's going to try to make me look bad in this when I was the one who was hit," Scuiletti lamented.

On Tuesday Kennedy said, "I want to apologize to the driver of the truck, who I apparently hit."

Scuiletti shrugged and nodded affirmatively Thursday when asked if he accepted her mea culpa.

Kennedy, who lives in Bedford, told the police officer who approached her the day of the incident that she might have mistakenly taken Ambien, a prescription sleeping pill, instead of her daily dose of Synthroid, a thyroid medication, before heading off alone to the gym, according to records.

After a Tuesday appearance in North Castle Town Court, however, Kennedy told reporters that Ambien played no role in the incident. She said doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan had told her she suffered a "complex partial seizure," possibly connected to a brain injury she sustained during a car crash last year. She noted that she had never before had a seizure.

Authorities are awaiting the results of Kennedy's blood tests taken at Northern Westchester Hospital after the incident. The daughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy said she is confident that the results of blood and urine tests will show that no alcohol or drugs were in her system that day.

Scuiletti said he was not surprised to get the summons. He is due in North Castle Town Court Aug. 7 and faces a possible $250 fine or a 15-day jail sentence if he's convicted.

Kennedy faces up to a year in jail if found guilty of the misdemeanor charge. Tuesday night, she was fingerprinted and had her mug shot taken at the State Police barracks in Somers. Her next court date is set for Aug. 14.

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